My heart! So wide open with women, midwives, doulas, physicians, educators and all who share a passion for respectful, quality care with heart.
I feel a glow with the love of an extended family that accepts me for who I am, who listens, shares, nurtures, challenges and debates with compassion and love. With my dear friends and many new friends, I have danced, sung, enjoyed skits, fire, water, air and earth, laughed and cried. I am have felt creative energy flowing in young and old as together we vision a world of gentle, peaceful, sacred birth and how the ecology of birth, effects the ecology of our planet.
These are all feelings I am full of as I fly across the Atlantic back home after an incredible week at the Midwifery Today Conference in Blankenberge, Belgium. Huge visions and grand dreams fill me whenever we gather at Midwifery Today conferences. We are always reminded of Margaret Mead’s great quote:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
Jan Tritten, our mother of Midwifery Today brings together many wise and inspiring speakers and sessions, I honor them all and want to share just a few with you….
Verena Schmid, a midwife who practices in Italy, and whom I co-taught with at our doula workshop this year in Bassano de Grappa, speaks so eloquently about the eco-system of birth, the ecology of birth. Her words, always take me deeper in our need to reframe our perspectives of childbirth globally. Being busy teaching and facilitating sessions myself I could not attend all her sessions but I trust I arrived at the right moment as in her session on the physiology of second stage, I entered the room as she was saying:
“Orgasmic power is the capacity of abandoning oneself to the flux of biologic energies, and of being able to unload the accumulated tension of labor pain through involuntary rhythmical contractions of body and vagina, giving the baby to the world and welcoming with satisfaction and tenderness”
There are no coincidences she continues: Childbirth is sexual. Childbirth is an opening process. Childbirth and integrity. All spoken over evocative images of beauty, history, and symbolism.
Verena recommends this 80s video to show spontaneous birth when women are upright and ease their baby’s into the world.
Verena explained all the harmful (yes harmful!) aspects for the pelvic floor in 2nd stage:
Recumbent or reclining positions (also in water), Imposed position by caregiver, not instinctively assumed by women, Pushing efforts in apnea (holding breathe), fundal pressure, Episiotomy, Vacuum/forceps, Disturbed environment, Lack of empathy and affective support, and Fear.
What a contrast to what is possible, and yet with all the scientific knowledge, why are we not improving care to make birth safer and easier for women? We have the knowledge.
Betty Anne-Davis a midwife from Canada said it well at the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference that followed, “Doctors don’t know Squat!” (The position of course as she and I both agree we value and honor doctor’s and their role, we just need more midwives to have a healthy maternity care system in balance)
We must stand, kneel and squat to deliver and not take it lying down!
I also had the chance to speak with Michelle, Marta‘s daughter, who was so inspired by helping to catch her sister that she too attended sessions and shared her growing passion for childbirth as a natural part of a woman’s life and sexuality.
Katerina, a midwife from Russia also shared her Orgasmic Birth story with me as her children played nearby, so many women from around the world, 42 countries in total representing our diversity and desire to reclaim childbirth and strengthen midwifery care around the world.